Bryce and I had a blast climbing in Yosemite last year, so this spring we made plans to visit Zion National Park, home of some of the best sandstone walls on Earth
Managing to reduce the Mountain of Gear to a Relatively Small Mountain of Gear.
The night before we were supposed to leave, I recieved an email from Bryce with the subject of "Hosed." Lotsa rain/snow was pounding Zion, making the sandstone unclimbable during the window of time Bryce had managed to get.
So, we made plans to hit sunny Yosemite valley again, were the sun shines and rock dries in record time.
I flew into San Fran at 2am thanks to delays, but Bryce was a champ and by morning we were packed and ready
Adios San Fran!
The forecase was iffy, but started out well enough...
Then it sprinkled...
Then snowed some more. "Look, El Cap!!!"
Even though things were a bit "damp," it was amazing to see the granite cliffs shrouded and mist and snow. It almost made up for the fact that we couldn't climb anything.
We hiked up to check out the Leaning Tower, one of the two walls we hoped to do. It was dry but looked scary so we decided to try the Washington Column first.
Glacier Point Apron
Half Dome looked AMAZING...
The cathedrals. This picture doesn't come close to doing the view justice...
Middle Cathedral in the afternoon light.
North Dome and the Royal Arches. Washington Column is poking out of the trees on the bottom right.
We scored a site in camp 4 easily, being one of about 3 parties in the entire camp. The next morning, the forecast had improved and we decided to check out the Column.
South Face. I had tried a route that runs parallel to this a few years ago and retreated due to inexperience/cowardice and a snagged rope, so I was excited for a rematch.
We got everything?
I hope so...
Bryce slogging up the approach. He even took the portaledge!
Getting ready to blast off.
Bryce fired pitch one in no time and we were off.
I aided up a varation to pitch 2, a nice dihedral
The clouds around HD put on a nice show for us the whole time.
Bryce tackling pitch 3, which will take use to the bivy ledge.
We expected the bivy to be covered in snow, but we lucked out.
The Kor Roof. First climbed a zillion years ago by Layton Kor with little more than a few pins and an unusually large set of balls, I was excited to do this historic section of the route. Bryce had done it before and graciously let me take it.
Wishing I'd done more situps...
Looking down on Bryce and the ledge. Wild.
Doesn't get much better than that!
Over the roof and into the amazing upper crack.
I fixed and rapped our tagline while Bryce cleaned.
but loving it!
We brought a portaledge for the fun of it and even managed to set it up after a few shenanigans.
It was a little "cozy"...
Is this fun, or what?
Next morning we awoke to bluebird skies. This is more like it!
Bryce jugging the fixed line. Ten minutes from now, I will follow him up the line and reach the top only to realize I've left the backpack, food and water at the ledge. Doh.
While waiting for me to jug the line a second time, Bryce rope soloed the first part of Pitch 5 and snapped this nice shot.
Bryce finished off the pitch and I got to work on the Nutting pitch
It got windy, but a spectacular position.
Due to the late start, my screw up, incoming snow clouds and a few logistical snags of how we'd collect our gear, we decided to rap early. You win again, Column.
A friend of Bryce's happened to be on his way up and snapped this shot of us at a rap station. This is where I stuck a rope four years ago, and ten seconds from now we will realize the rope is stuck again. Joy...
We got down without incident and I spent the next two days relaxing, trying to take pretty pictures and looking for a partner until Bryce could return at the end of the week.
I hiked up to the base of the Salathe Wall on El Cap. Looks amazing...
It still amazes me how relaxed most animals are around here.
By good luck, Alexa was visiting a mutual friend, Greg, who works for YMS, so we managed to climb for a few days.
Alexa enjoying P3 of nutcracker.
uh oh, it's wet...
Alexa no longer enjoying pitch 3 of nutcracker. But she still smoked it in no time!
Alexa following the last pitch.
The view never disappoints
Alexa on P1 of Commitement, one of the better routes at the Five Open Books
We even managed to catch a soccer game in El Portal.
Bryce came back at the end of the week and we decided to do the Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral Rock, a great looking route I'd wanted to do for a while.
Bryce on the approach.
Higher and Lower Cathedral Spires
Bryce following Pitch 3 or 4
Bryce on the first traverse pitch to the base of chimneys.
Higher/Lower, both great routes.
Bryce at the base of the chimneys
What a jackass.
Getting into the upper part of the route. What a great pitch.
Bryce following the first section of chimney's
Bryce on the crux offwidth.
Ready, set, scuffle.
Me thrutching. Great lead, Bryce!
Glad that's over.
High on the route.
Tired and having a blast!
Are we done yet?
Happily on top!